Theories versus “theories”

In scientific discourse, a theory is a hypothesis that has not been proven but which does have considerable evidence to support it. An example of a scientific theory would be the Theory of Evolution. A hypothesis that doesn’t have considerable evidence to support it remains a hypothesis.

I kind of take the same approach on the Charley Project when it comes to what might have happened to an MP. I only have so much time and would prefer to spend it wisely, and if I’m going to update a casefile with a suggestion as to what may have happened to the MP, it’s not going to be something a random person suggested on their blog.

In my mind, a valid theory either has to come from someone in a position to know what they’re talking about (such as the police investigating the case, or someone else very close to the case), or, if it comes from elsewhere, it has to have some evidence to support it. Any suggestion that doesn’t meet either of those criteria falls into the realm of speculation, and I don’t have time for that.

For example, virtually every female who disappeared during the sixties or early seventies and had long hair parted in the center has been pinned on Ted Bundy by somebody at some point. But while Bundy was a very prolific killer who racked up quite a body count and probably had victims no one knows about, he wasn’t the only serial killer operating during that period and his time was not infinite. He had to sleep, eat, hang out with his friends, attend work and school, etc.

If the person pinning Bundy on an unsolved case could, for example, at least show that Bundy was in that town at the time, that’s one thing. But trying to blame Bundy for every missing or murdered woman who even remotely fits his victimology, particularly ones in states he is never known to have visited, is basically seeing hoofprints and pinning them on zebras rather than horses.

I’m not just talking about Bundy here, but about any kind of speculations without evidence. Regarding a case of two MPs who were sailing alone and got lost in a storm, and whose boat was later found adrift, someone told me “theories” that one or both of the people had survived and either had amnesia or felt too guilty to come home. These “theories” had actually no evidence at all to support them and were just people grasping at straws hoping the MPs were still alive.

I don’t think it would do any good for me to put such speculations on my site and it might do some harm.